Adopting Agile Practices: Its going to be hard!
Right now I'm coaching some teams with projects in flight. To do this I generally start by showing them one or two agile practices. After getting buy-in we use the practices for an iteration - retrospect and refine. This approach minimizes change and risk to the project, but has a drawback. A gradual approach lends to some quick successes early on that give a false impression that adopting agile practices is going to be easy. As more complicated practices are incrementally adopted a tipping point is reach upon which the team has a cathartic moment. They discover that:
- The practices they are learning are actually a means to an end. Once they master a practice they are embarking on a journey rather than achieved a tick mark for a resume or PMO process requirement.
- What got them through the last few iterations isn't working on the current iteration.
- Any impediments to project success quickly bubble to the top and wildly boil over. These can be external issues or a team member. (I often remind teams of a term I learned from a colleague of mine: "nobody can hide on an Agile team.")
- Following agile practices requires more discipline than their old modes of working.